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AP: NCAA president says association won’t push ACC on NC law

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NCAA President Mark Emmert says it’s up to the Atlantic Coast Conference and its members whether to follow the association’s lead and pull events out of North Carolina because of a state law that some say can lead to discrimination against LGBT people.

In an interview Tuesday with The Associated Press, Emmert said the association expects to take a financial hit for moving seven championship events and tournament games out of the state on short notice, but how much is unknown.

New locations have yet to be identified, he said, but Emmert said his staff is working aggressively to find sites for some events scheduled for as soon as December. The biggest of the events that will be relocated is first-round men’s basketball tournament games scheduled for Greensboro in March.

     RELATED: Might this be the decision that changes the HB2 law?

The ACC is also on the clock to make its decision about its football championship game, set to be played in Charlotte on Dec. 3.

The ACC’s council of presidents was set to hold a previously scheduled meeting starting Tuesday night in Clemson, South Carolina, with the law expected to be discussed Wednesday.

The football championship game, held in Charlotte since 2010, is the last marquee college sporting event left in North Carolina during the 2016-17 season. While ACC Commissioner John Swofford it would be “premature” to make any decisions about holding events in North Carolina for now, he also issued a clear statement Monday night against the law.

“On a personal note, it’s time for this bill to be repealed as it’s counter to basic human rights,” said Swofford, whose league office is located in North Carolina.

Georgia Tech President Bud Peterson, whose school is a member of the ACC, is the newly elected chairman of the NCAA board of governors, which unanimously voted to relocate the association’s events out of North Carolina.

Emmert said the NCAA will stay out of conference decisions.

“That’s going to be completely up to the conferences,” Emmert said. “There’s, of course, Division II and III conferences that have a lot of events in North Carolina as well. They’ll have plenty of people involved in the debate that were also engaged with the NCAA. But those are going to be individual decisions, not national association’s. Nor should they be.”

In a news release Monday, the NCAA said the decision by its board of governors came “because of the cumulative actions taken by the state concerning civil rights protections.”

The law — known as HB2 — requires transgender people to use restrooms at schools and government buildings corresponding to the sex on their birth certificates. It also excludes gender identity and sexual orientation from local and statewide antidiscrimination protections.

HB2 was signed into law by Republican Gov. Pat McCrory earlier this year. A spokesman with McCrory’s office couldn’t be reached for comment Monday evening, but a spokeswoman with the state Republican party blasted the NCAA’s decision in a statement, saying it is “so absurd it’s almost comical.”

“I wish the NCAA was this concerned about the women who were raped at Baylor,” spokeswoman Kami Mueller said.

Emmert told the AP the two issues are not related.

“This is an issue in the midst of a political season that is clearly going to stir a lot of debate and discussion on both sides of the issue,” he said. “The decision, of course, occurred completely independent of what kind of year it was around politics. Obviously, this is in no way correlated to what is obviously a very serious issue around sexual assault and sexual misconduct on university campuses.”

The only championship events that can be hosted in North Carolina this academic year are ones determined when a team earns the right to play on its own campus.

     RELATED: ACC Commissioner calls for HB2 to be repealed

The NCAA said it will relocate the men’s basketball first- and second-round games that were scheduled for March 17 and 19 in Greensboro. The NCAA will also relocate:

  • the Division I women’s soccer championship scheduled for Dec. 2 and 4 in Cary, just outside the capital of Raleigh;
  • the Division III men’s and women’s soccer championships set for Dec. 2 and 3 in Greensboro;
  • the Division I women’s golf regional championships set for May 8-10 in Greenville;
  • the Division III men’s and women’s tennis championships set for May 22-27 in Cary;
  • the Division I women’s lacrosse championship set for May 26 and 28 in Cary;
  • and the Division II baseball championship from May 27 to June 3 in Cary.
  • In its announcement, the NCAA took special note of ways North Carolina’s law differs from other states.

     RELATED: Duke’s AD issues strongly worded statement in support

“At the end of the day, the board was looking at the core values of college sports in America,” Emmert told the AP. “That these are about sports that are conducted within the context of higher education and the values of fairness of inclusion are so central to what we all believe in, that the law HB2 that was passed as the most comprehensive of the laws that have been enacted around limiting LGBT rights, was just a bridge too far.

“It would have been impossible to conduct championship events in the state with that law in place that lived up to the values and expectations of the member universities and colleges.”

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AP Sports Writer Ralph D. Russo can be followed on Twitter @ralphDrussoAP. AP Sports Writer Aaron Beard in Raleigh, North Carolina, contributed to this report.

ACC Commissioner John Swofford on HB2: ‘It’s time for this bill to be repealed’

John Swofford
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The NCAA announced on Monday night that it would be removing all championship events slated to be held in the state of North Carolina due to the controversial and discriminatory HB2 law.

This could end up having a major impact on the decision of lawmakers to keep the law on the books in its current form due to the popularity of college basketball in the state.

The next step in this equation, however, is the ACC.

The conference, to date, has not taken a stand on HB2, but late on Monday night, commissioner John Swofford released the following statement.

“The decision by the NCAA Board of Governors to relocate all current, and not award any future, NCAA Championship sites in the state of North Carolina continues to build upon the negative impact this bill has already had on the state,” Swofford said. “HB2 was previously scheduled to be thoroughly discussed at this week’s ACC Council of Presidents meeting, so it would be premature to make any decisions or announcements regarding ACC Championships until our membership is able to discuss. The league’s longstanding commitment to equality, diversity and inclusion will continue to be a central theme to our discussions.”

So it will be discussed this week.

And then there is Swofford’s parting shot: “On a personal note, it’s time for this bill to be repealed as it’s counter to basic human rights.”

In summation, the ACC Council of Presidents will be discussing the HB2 law at meetings this week and the commissioner has released a statement calling for the bill to be repealed.

That doesn’t sound like it’s good for the future of ACC tournaments being held in the state. Currently, the 2017 and 2018 ACC tournaments are scheduled to be played in Brooklyn at the Barclays Center while the 2019 (Charlotte) and 2020 (Greensboro) tournaments are to be held in North Carolina.

NCAA removes tournament games from North Carolina over HB2 law

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The NCAA announced on Monday evening that they will relocate all of their championship events scheduled to take place in North Carolina due to the controversial HB2 law, which eliminates protections for the LGBT community and, inside government buildings, makes it unlawful for transgendered people to use a bathroom that differs from the gender listed on their birth certificate.

There were seven events scheduled to take place in North Carolina during the 2016-17 school year, including the NCAA tournament; the 1st and 2nd round games that were supposed to be played in Greensboro, N.C., will be relocated to a site that is still to be determined.

“Fairness is about more than the opportunity to participate in college sports, or even compete for championships,” said Mark Emmert, NCAA president. “We believe in providing a safe and respectful environment at our events and are committed to providing the best experience possible for college athletes, fans and everyone taking part in our championships.”

     RELATED: Duke’s AD issues strongly worded statement in support

The decision was made not only because “North Carolina law provides legal protections for government officials to refuse services to the LGBT community”, but also due to the fact that five states — Vermont, Connecticut, New York, Minnesota and Washington — and numerous cities currently prohibit travel to the state for public officials and employees of public institutions.

Over the summer, the NCAA notified all cities that were scheduled to host an NCAA sanctioned championship that they were required to fill out a questionnaire detailing how they would protect the athletes — and the fans that traveled and paid for a ticket to watch and support their teams — from discrimination. Those questionnaires, which were specifically targeted at cities in North Carolina, were due in August.

The thought was that the NCAA might be able to be the ones to get the law amended, maybe even eliminated. This isn’t like the NBA pulling the all-star game. It’s different than having Bruce Springsteen and Ringo Starr and Pearl Jam cancel concerts within the state’s borders.

     RELATED: ACC Commissioner calls for HB2 to be repealed

North Carolina is college basketball.

The people of that state care about the Tar Heels and the Wolfpack, the Blue Devils and the Demon Deacons more than they care about just about anything else. If losing major money-making events isn’t enough to convince elected officials to make a change, the hope was that threatening to pull the NCAA tournament from the state would be.

It wasn’t.

And the result is that North Carolina will not host NCAA tournament games this year. The state likely won’t host NCAA tournament games as long as this law, as it is currently written, remains on the books.

That may be enough to convince the people of that state to replace their current elected officials with one who will change the law.

Because you can mess with their money. North Carolinians have proven that already. You can send the revenue generated by the NBA All-Star game or a Springsteen concert out of state. That might hurt, but will it hurt as much as not being able to watch UNC or Duke play two tournament games in their backyard?

Will it hurt as much as potentially setting one of the state’s two bluebloods up for an early exit from the Big Dance?

CBS Sports asked anonymous coaches about this decision over the summer, and one answer stood out to me: “If it keeps me from having to play a first-round game in the tournament against Duke or North Carolina in North Carolina, I’m absolutely for it. Please don’t put my name on that.”

“But I know I’m not the only coach who feels that way.”

If coaches are happy about this from a competitive standpoint, then the fans supporting those teams won’t be.

And if the state’s basketball fans aren’t happy, maybe that’s what it will take to get those elected officials to either change the law or find themselves out of office.

VIDEO: Mixtape for Zion Williamson, top five 2018 prospect

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Zion Williamson is one of the best players in the class, and he also happens to be one of the most entertaining players in the class.

Because he can do things like this.

Report: Texas A&M freshman ruled non qualifier

ANAHEIM, CA - MARCH 24:  Head coach Billy Kennedy of the Texas A&M Aggies cheers on his team in the second half while taking on the Oklahoma Sooners in the 2016 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament West Regional at the Honda Center on March 24, 2016 in Anaheim, California.  (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
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Texas A&M freshman Deshawn Corprew has been ruled a non-qualifier and will not be eligible to play this season, according to a report from CBS Sports.

A source told NBC Sports that the school has yet to receive a final ruling from the NCAA as the process is “still working itself out.”

Corprew is a four-star small forward prospect from Virginia that was something of a recruiting coup for the Aggies. He had offers from programs like Kansas, Louisville and Texas when he committed to the Aggies in May. He initially committed to Arkansas-Little Rock due to concerns about his eligibility.

A&M now has a three-man recruiting class, including point guard J.J. Caldwell and bigs Eric Vila and Robert Williams.

VIDEO: Watch Tom Izzo’s Hall Of Fame enshrinement speech

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Tom Izzo was officially inducted into the Naismith Hall of Fame on Friday night.

His speech was … well, it was an acceptance speech. He went for about 15 minutes, thanking his parents and his wife and his kids. He spoke about Jud Heathcoate, the legendary head coach that hired him at MSU, and Steve Marriucci, his best friend since high school. He mostly read off of the teleprompter, but he did manage to get the crowd laughing with a couple of one-liners: He accused his son of picking against him in an NCAA tournament pool and he told Marriucci that his help with film sessions last March “sucked”.

Izzo also thanked his former players.

“As a coach, I don’t get to make game winning shots to clutch free throws,” he said. “I’m only here on the shoulders of your accomplishments. I’m able to laugh with you and cry with you. I was there with your for the tough times but I also got to watch you live your dream. Winning a championship, making it to the NBA or most importantly, becoming the first one of your family to graduate college.”

“There are too many to name everyone, but from the Player of the Year to the last one on the bench, you’ve all had a profound effect on my career. And I hope you all share in this honor with me tonight.”

He did mention Eric Snow and Shawn Respert and Travis Walton. He also talked about the importance of Steve Smith, his first recruit at Michigan State, and Draymond Green, who turned into an NBA champion and an Olympic gold medalist after leaving Michigan State. He did not mention Mateen Cleaves, his former point guard and his son’s (Stephen Mateen Izzo) namesake. Cleaves is currently in the midst of a legal battle.

He named five former assistants that were in attendance. He thanked four members of his coaching staff that made it to Springfield for the celebration. He thanked Vince Lombardi and Nick Saban, Mark Dantonio and Mark Hollis. He thanked two different Michigan State presidents.